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Forest Plan

Forest Plan

The Forest Service is revising the Forest Plan for the Nez Perce – Clearwater National Forests. This plan will guide forest management for the next ten years (and possibly the next thirty years) and dictate how these unique forests will be managed. Both forests are currently operating under individual forest plans from 1987. The recent administrative combination of both forests has led to the agency’s decision to combine the two old plans into a single new plan. Disappointingly, the proposed plan revision does a disservice to the wildlands of the Clearwater region and the citizens of this country by proposing a plan short on accountability and long on platitudes. While flawed, the ’87 plans far better protect water quality, fish habitat and wildlife habitat than what is being proposed – in spite of these plans being outdated. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the new plan is expected Fall/Winter 2019. At that point we will organize forest planning workshops and share information with our membership and the public at large to encourage participation during the public comment period. Read our vision and outline for the new plan.

Citizens Alternative Outline

Read our action alert for the development of forest plan alternatives.

Revision Action Alert

Read our guest opinion about Forest Plan RevisionFebruary 2018.

A forest plan is made up of a number of main planning components or issues. As part of our initial analysis we have identified many problems with the proposed action.

Issue #1: Public input to date

  • Forest revision collaborative excludes most Americans.
  • Clearwater Basin Collaborative confuses the issue further.
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires objective analysis of alternatives.

Issue #2: Roadless areas and recommended wilderness

  • Less than 25% of the roadless base is recommended as Wilderness. All 1.5 million acres of roadless wildlands should be fully protected. There is a need for non-motorized/non-mechanized backcountry designations.
  • Recommendation excludes critically important areas such as the 260,000 acre Bighorn – Weitas Roadless Area.
  • Special Management Areas in the proposal offer inadequate protections for Meadow Creek and Cayuse Creek.

Issue #3: Fishery and watershed protection

  • Streamside buffers must be maintained (PACFISH-INFISH).
  • Upper sediment limits must not be exceeded.
  • Sensitive soils and steep slopes must remain off-limits to development.
  • Revision must include quantitative and enforceable standards.

Issue #4: Wildlife habitat and species of concern

  • Must adopt a robust list of focal species.
  • Need a thorough population monitoring program.
  • Proposed Species of Conservation Concern wrongfully omits the grizzly bear and multiple endemic plant species.
  • Plan revision must include quantitative and enforceable standards.

Issue #5: Timber program

  • Proposed 58-150 million board feet annually is unsustainable.
  • No logging should be permitted in roadless areas, riparian areas, and areas prone to landslides.
  • Timber salvage operations must consider other resource values. (post-fire landscapes offer crucial wildlife habitat)
  • Revision must include quantitative and enforceable standards.

Issue #6: Transportation planning

  • Road management objectives must decrease road density on the national forests.
  • 300 miles of decommissioning roads over life of the plan is not enough.
  • 400 miles of new and/or reconstructed roads over life of the plan is too much.
  • Must not be any motorized or mechanized access into undeveloped roadless areas.

Other Important Issues:

  • Wild & Scenic River recommendations
  • Research Natural Area proposals
  • Land Exchange program
  • Grazing program
  • Energy development (Bio-fuels)
  • Middle Fork Clearwater/Lochsa River corridor (Megaloads)
  • No privatization-transfer of federal public lands to any entity

Learn more about our Forest Watch program.